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i'm looking for comfrey seeds

 
Jobe Shores
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I'm hoping to trade some left-over vegetable seeds for some comfrey seeds. My orchard is about 3/4 of an acre. I wouldn't necessarily need enough seed to fill the orchard, obviously, just enough to get maybe 10 or 15 sprouted. I have a huge variety of tomato and pepper seeds, and, well, I have a 2.5 gallon zip-lock bag full of seed packets. Chances are, I'll have some type of seed you would use. Also, I would take honey locust seeds... Well, pretty much seeds of any beneficial perennial for a food forest/orchard. The more varied, the better. Thanks!
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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While trading doesn't work so well I'd suggest you hit Ebay for low cost seeds for all your needs. I have a post in trees about using Ebay. Lots of people with good experiences and so far I'm one of them as well.
 
Darrell Clevenger
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BQ03TE2/ref=sr_ph?ie=UTF8&qid=1419872159&sr=1&keywords=comfrey

I have bought 10 packages from this Amazon source with great success. 95% Germination rate thus far. 5 packages sowed so far.
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Not sure why anyone would say seed swapping does not work. There are two active threads right here on Permies in global resources » resources: seeds, plants, honey, consulting, etc.
Not to mention all the other threads with people discussing specific plants they are looking for and so on.

Might be a good place for you to put this post
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Peter Ellis wrote:Not sure why anyone would say seed swapping does not work. There are two active threads right here on Permies in global resources » resources: seeds, plants, honey, consulting, etc.
Not to mention all the other threads with people discussing specific plants they are looking for and so on.

Might be a good place for you to put this post


Ah, I see how that sounded. I didn't mean to imply you can't swap just saying you can't seed swap as a method of payment on Ebay. I have some Jerusalem artichoke I got from someone online so seed swapping can happen.
 
Jobe Shores
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thanks for the help. i guess i thought i had searched this site for seed swaps, but apparently not well enough. i'm also checking the amazon site. thanks again
 
Brad D'Amico
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If you are only looking to end up with 10-15 comfrey plants, you probably don't need seeds. Comfrey propogates very very easily from root cuttings. Someone with one or two established plants to spare could easily provide you with enough root material to establish that many plants.

(The crowns sprout a lot faster than root cuttings, but you can cut a comfrey root into 3-4" sections and plant horizontally into a starter pot, then transplant once they've sprouted up. You can get A LOT of plants from a little root material)

I'd gladly dig up one of my plants depending upon what seeds you have to offer.

Hope that helps.
 
Jobe Shores
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hey brad- thanks for the reply. i would definitely make a trade for some comfrey root cuttings. i have a huge assortment of vegetable seeds. you tell me the type of vegetable seeds you would like and i'll tell you what varieties i have for that type of vegetable. ie- you say tomato, i say i have cherokee purple, black krim, pink brandywine, black pineapple, gypsy, delicious, beefsteak... and so on. i probably have another 15 varieties just for tomatoes. let me know. thanks again!
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Seconding the suggestion of going for root cuttings... if you have any neighbours locally with some you just need a shovel and a sharp knife. You can get 20+ root cuttings from one plant and you won't kill the parent plant in the process as it is basically impossible to get all the roots up.
 
Jobe Shores
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michael- as far as i know, i've never seen comfrey growing around here. i had never heard of comfrey until a few months ago, though, so i'm hoping i can locate some local plants once spring breaks. but JUST IN CASE, i'm still looking for an alternate source. if there are no local comfrey plants to dig, maybe it just doesn't do well here, or maybe the conventional farming sprays have eradicated it from this area. but i'm gonna try it anyway
 
Brad D'Amico
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Jobe Shores wrote:michael- as far as i know, i've never seen comfrey growing around here. i had never heard of comfrey until a few months ago, though, so i'm hoping i can locate some local plants once spring breaks. but JUST IN CASE, i'm still looking for an alternate source. if there are no local comfrey plants to dig, maybe it just doesn't do well here, or maybe the conventional farming sprays have eradicated it from this area. but i'm gonna try it anyway


My understanding of comfrey is that it is native to Russia/East Europe. Not sure I've ever heard of any areas in the CONUS where it's "naturalized" and could be foraged, but I guess it's possible.

Its a cool-ish climate plant but is hardy enough to thrive in most places with decent soils. If you live in zones 7-8 and above, you'd probably want to give it some shade at some point in the day. I'm in zone 7 with clay soils and the plants I have really started to rock around May/June, before the really hot part of the summer kicked in. Then, they slowed a bit, and came back a little in September/October. Then I harvested the leaves for mulch, and they've been slowly putting leaves back up ever since, even through the fall and winter. Should be monsters next season.

A very good source for comfrey is Coe's Comfrey. Just a quick google search away. I got the $20 package from him and ended up with much more than the item description. Plus, like I said earlier, you can further divide the root sections to get a lot of plants out of 6-8" root sections. Cut them down to 3-4" each, plant horizontally about 4-6" down depending on your soil (shallower if heavier, deeper if lighter). I have clay so I went about 4" down. Then mulch on top. Keep watered, lightly so the cuttings don't rot, and you'll see small green leaves peeking up in few weeks.
 
Michael Cox
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Coe's Comfrey - root cuttings


Comfrey Seeds

I would recommend going with the comfrey cuttings - the commercial cultivars are chosen because they are sterile and won't set seeds. This makes them much less invasive which is important as comfrey is hard to shift once it has got established. It is nearly impossible to get every single piece of root up.

Once you have a few crowns established you will be able to propagate as much as you will ever need from them in future years.
 
Judith Browning
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Jobe Shores wrote:I'm hoping to trade some left-over vegetable seeds for some comfrey seeds. My orchard is about 3/4 of an acre. I wouldn't necessarily need enough seed to fill the orchard, obviously, just enough to get maybe 10 or 15 sprouted. I have a huge variety of tomato and pepper seeds, and, well, I have a 2.5 gallon zip-lock bag full of seed packets. Chances are, I'll have some type of seed you would use. Also, I would take honey locust seeds... Well, pretty much seeds of any beneficial perennial for a food forest/orchard. The more varied, the better. Thanks!


If you can't find anyone with seed to trade......Richters has common comfrey symphytum officinale for $3.75 a packet and $8.00 a gram, $57 for 10 grams all the way to 100 grams for $400. Their shipping is really reasonable.
I ordered a packet and started some last year. It was a little tricky to germinate because the seed had to stay moist, but germination was great and once up and growing they were full sized plants, blooming and setting seed by the end of the summer into the fall. I didn't try to save seed but it did make some.
https://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=X1870&show=&prodclass=Herb_and_Vegetable_Seeds&cart_id=9785178.21621

EDIT check out some of the 'similar threads' at the bottom of this page for other 'seed swaps' happening at permies.
 
Peter Ellis
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If you want to use comfrey for herbal purposes, not just chop and drop plant food, then you definitely want seeds over the clone cuttings. Meaningful alkaloid differences between them.
 
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